Farmers who supplied maize to Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in Mufumbwe this morning besieged the office of the District Commissioner to register their disappointment over government’s failure to pay them their money for the maize.
Mufumbwe District Commissioner Robert Muyutu confirmed to ZANIS in Solwezi that the farmers approached his office on when FRA would pay them their money which they have been waiting for a long time after they supplied the commodity.
Mr. Muyutu said the farmers who had come from distant places have been spending nights at the depot with a view that they would be paid on time but it has taken a long time .
He mentioned that sources within FRA had assured him that the farmers in Mufumbwe who supplied maize to FRA would be paid either today or tomorrow since the money has already been transmitted to the district.
Mr. Muyutu therefore appealed to the farmers to be calm as FRA was making arrangements to pay them all.
And the situation was the same in Solwezi where farmers were found seated at the FRA offices waiting to be paid their money.
A group spokesperson Greenwell Samakayi told ZANIS that they sold the crop to FRA on the 7th July, 2009 and sine then they have not been paid.
Mr. Samakayi who said they had come from senior chief Musele’s area lamented that they were spending nights in the cold without food and each time they approached the FRA offices they were told to wait.
He said even the transporters who they hired to take the maize for sale to FRA were threatening them with legal action for failure to pay them.
Meanwhile, sources within the FRA said it has bought 68,606 by 50 kg bags of maize from farmers in th province and has spent more than K1 billion owing farmers over K3 billion.
The source further said the delay in paying the farmers by FRA was due to poor bank facilities and not a deliberate move by the company.
The sources mentioned that it was difficult to transfer the money to districts like Mufumbwe and Chavuma where there are no banking facilities that is why the farmers have not been paid on time.